Saturday, December 10, 2005

European governments make their peace with Washington on abductions, torture

European governments make their peace with Washington on abductions, torture

European governments make their peace with Washington on abductions, torture

By Chris Marsden
9 December 2005

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European ministers have signalled an end to any pretence of opposing America’s practice of rendition, which involves shipping detainees abroad to be tortured—using European airports and even CIA bases located in eastern Europe.

Following a formal dinner in Brussels on December 7, in advance of the next day’s meeting of NATO foreign ministers, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium all proclaimed themselves satisfied with reassurances by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the US abides by the Geneva Convention in its treatment of prisoners.

Speaking earlier in Ukraine, Rice said, “As a matter of... policy, the United States’ obligations under the [United Nations Convention Against Torture], which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, extends to US personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the US or outside the US.”

At the dinner Wednesday, she is reported to have made similar statements. The response from the NATO and European officials was gushing.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that the NATO allies had “received assurances” from Rice that the US fully conforms to its international agreements and has “full respect for the sovereignty” of other nations. He welcomed Washington’s “adherence to international rules,” particularly the UN Convention Against Torture, stating, “The US, they are our friends. I repeat, they are our friends.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters, “I think NATO and EU ministers were able to raise their concerns that we should not diverge from one another on the interpretation of international law.

“Secretary Rice promised that international agreements are not interpreted any differently in the United States than they are in Europe.”

The meeting was “very satisfactory for all of us,” he added.

Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said he left Wednesday night’s dinner “very satisfied” by Rice’s comments.

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht said that Rice had reassured him that “at no time did the US agree to inhumane acts or torture, that they have always respected the sovereignty of the states concerned, and even if terrorists are not covered by the Geneva conventions, they have still applied the principles governing those Geneva conventions... I’ve the impression all ministers generally welcomed that.”

NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer was similarly effusive. Rice had “cleared the air. You will not see this discussion continuing.”

He was as good as his word. The next day NATO foreign ministers met to discuss increasing the organisation’s military presence in Afghanistan to allow Washington to reduce the number of US troops stationed there. The issue of covert prisons and detainee treatment was not even discussed.

These statements from key European Union member nations make clear that the EU as a whole has no intention of seriously investigating, let alone opposing, Washington’s defiance of international law and its practice of abducting alleged terrorists and shipping them either to secret CIA prisons or to third countries, where they are held indefinitely and without legal recourse, and subjected to legally proscribed, brutal interrogation methods.

Human rights groups rejected Rice’s reassurances. The US-based Human Rights Watch said that the Bush administration’s definition of torture was so narrow that it left open the possibility of US personnel employing a range of abusive and illegal techniques, such as “waterboarding,” deprivation of food, sleep or heat, and other supposedly non-fatal forms of physical and psychological duress.

“We need to know whether they are defining torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in the way that most people have defined it for many, many years,” said Tom Malinowski. “My impression is that, for them, only something that leaves physical scars counts as torture.”

Rice never defined what she meant by cruel and degrading treatment. In any event, her claim that US personnel are not involved in torture counts for nothing given what is already known about the sordid practices at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. It is all the more cynical given that renditions are carried out as a means of avoiding directly implicating the US in torture by utilising private contractors or interrogators in foreign countries to do Washington’s dirty work.

Even as Rice was making her statements in Kiev and Brussels, the Bush administration and congressional Republicans were opposing a resolution that would bar the use of torture against detainees held by the US. Moreover, Rice never said, nor did anyone demand that she say, that the US would stop doing anything it is presently doing in the name of the so-called “global war on terror.” Rice admitted nothing and pledged to do nothing. She simply made bald and utterly non-credible pro forma assertions of US fidelity to international law.

It should also be noted that under international law, a country must allow the International Red Cross access to detention facilities, so as to check official claims about the treatment and condition of prisoners. The US has flatly denied the International Red Cross any information about, let alone access to, its secret prisons, and all but blocked the international body from inspecting known facilities such as Guantánamo Bay and prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For much of this year, reports have appeared in the media and on the Internet of hundreds of flights by CIA planes to detention facilities of foreign governments or secret “black sites” run by the CIA.

Several former detainees have made public how they were tortured, including European citizens. Only this week, Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent who was abducted and tortured, took out a legal case against the US government. Italian prosecutors are still seeking the extradition of 22 CIA operatives they say were involved in snatching Egyptian political refugee Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr from the streets of Milan.

More than eight countries, as well as the European Union, had begun investigations into CIA flights, kidnappings and black sites. Yet, all of this supposedly counts for nothing in the face of evasive statements by Rice.

The stance taken by Germany’s foreign minister follows that of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also pronounced her satisfaction with Rice’s hollow assurances earlier this week. At least one investigation in Europe, that by Spanish authorities on the island of Mallorca into the use of its airports to transfer terror suspects, has already been abandoned. Investigators proclaimed that they had found no “relevant evidence of a crime,” following which Spain’s attorney general, Candido Conde-Pumpido, said he did not believe that the issue would be taken up by the national court in Madrid.

Amnesty International estimates that the CIA made 800 flights over Europe in the 2001—2005 period. And the American TV network ABC reported this week that the CIA only closed its secret prisons in Romania and Poland last month.

The scale of what has been revealed excludes any possibility that the European powers were ignorant of America’s criminal actions. There are already reports in the public domain of how the Swedish and German governments have worked with the CIA in order to gain access to evidence extracted through torture. The British government of Tony Blair has unsuccessfully been seeking the right to use evidence extracted through torture overseas to detain terror suspects in the UK.

However, Europe’s response is not determined solely by whether they directly collaborated in renditions. All of the European powers—whatever the position they adopted over the Iraq war—are full participants in the so-called war on terror, of which renditions are a key feature. Like Washington, their concern is to legitimise their predatory ambitions in the Middle East and internationally, while strengthening their repressive powers in order to deal with domestic opposition to the destruction of living conditions and vital social provisions.

Throughout the continent, governments are mounting a sustained offensive against democratic rights—a shift towards authoritarian forms of rule that finds its most developed expression in the state of emergency that remains in effect in France. That is why they have no intention of challenging the lawlessness of the Bush administration and why Paris chooses this moment to proclaim Europe as “America’s friend.”

See Also:
German chancellor Merkel covers up for illegal CIA practices
[9 December 2005]
Britain: Former law lord says US “guilty of lawlessness on a truly grand scale”
[8 December 2005]
Bush, Rice defend US abductions, torture, secret prisons
[7 December 2005]

Halabja: Iraq, Saddam, Talabani, Iran, U.S. and Zyklon-B

Halabja: Iraq, Saddam, Talabani, Iran, U.S. and Zyklon-B

§1. Due to present circumstances around the Iraq war I’m unfortunately able to use only my nick-name and virtual home address (jouna, for reasons I’m sure you understand. Unable to find your e-mail address and having nothing to hide what comes to the contents of this letter I’m publishing it now right here in the internet.

You were the CIA's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000. I’ve became to know your name some time ago, when I read your book "Iraq and the International Oil System: Why America Went to War in the Persian Gulf." (hereafter IIOS).
I’ve also read your article ‘A War Crime or an Act of War?’ (hereafter WCAW), available in In addition I’m familiar with your video representations in and and some discussion around your views around these.

From the timing of my approach you must already have guessed that I’m writing about the events at Halabja, in March 1988. As I was aware your expertise on this issue, I now turn to you with some issues that have been troubling me for some time on.
Not wanting to take your time more than necessary, I will proceed straight to the happenings around Halabja, 1988.

§2. At this very moment Dutchman Frans van Anraat is accused in a Hague trial, being charged for delivering chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein. These weapons are claimed to have killed thousands of Kurds at Halabja in 1988. As we both, like many others already know this is absolute rubbish, since the mustard gas delivered by van Anraat did not kill the Kurds at Halabja, I won’t waste our time any more with this (for the proof of these claims, cf. the section §7, further google for Frans van Anraat if you are interested in the latest developments of his trial). The trial is in its final week, with a verdict expected on December 23, 2005).

§3. On the other hand, Saddam Hussein is at the present charged in a illegal trial in Baghdad for the very same charges (cf. In this connection it is necessary to introduce some facts concerning the Halabja incidents. The substance believed to have killed the Kurds at Halabja is a ‘blood agent’, hydrogen cyanide (HCN), better know as ‘Zyklon B’ of the Germans in WWII.
Among many others you tell (passim) that it was not the Iraqis, who zyklonb’d the Kurds at Halabja, and besides of this that Saddam Hussein is not guilty of the accused genocide as the use of gas occured in a battle action.
Your claim that the Iraqis would have used cyanide gas would not make sense anyway, just because of the following points:
(1) the Iraqis did not have nor did they use the cyanide gas at the time (rather: any time).
(2) why would the Iraqis have attacked their own city and own people?
(3) why did they not use the gas against the attacking Iranians instead?

The innocence of Frans van Anraat, Iraqis and Saddam Hussein to the gassing of the Kurds leaves us with several open questions. One of them is who then used cyanide gas against the civilian inhabitants of Halabja? Before looking an answer to, I would like to go deeper in the details of this murky event.

§4. First, I would like to highligth the involvement of Jalal Talabani:
(1) In IIOS (p. 188) you write: “The rebel Kurdish Leader, Jalal Talabani facilitated the introduction of the Iranian forces into Halabja by night so that the Iraqi commander was unaware of the penetration.”
(2) Before proceeding further, I would like to have few words on the character of Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, the rebel force leader in March 1988. In the events around Halabja he obviously deceives his own people, the Kurds, as he first exposes them to Iranian attack, and right after causes them to be gassed with cyanide. Not very nice from him, or what do you think?
(3) Instead of his own people, Talabani is admittedly siding with the Iranians, but on the other hand Talabani deceives the Iranians too: he entangles them to a very serious international crime, the use of chemical weapons with no profit whatever for the Iran (the attack turned a failure). Guilty or not, the Iranians have been under very serious suspicions after this event, made possible by nobody else than Jalal Talabani.
(4) Later on, in the second Iraq war (the one still raging), Mr. Talabani resurfaces as one of the leading allies of the United Stated, waging an illegal war (by UN standars) against Iraq and Iraqi people. As a reward for his contributions he is chosen (rather: seated) as the president of the New Iraq, fitting very well among other scum gathered by the U.S. as the puppet ‘government’ of Iraq.
From this and the difficult Iran-U.S. relationship, one is seemingly not mistaken in thinking that Mr. (if such an epithet can be used of him) Talabani completed his well-started treason of the Iranians (back in 1988), now finding new friends from the United States.
(5) However, the latest deception of Mr. Talabani, perhaps widest in its scope so far, took place in this autumn, when he deceived the United States by selling the Kurds in Iraq to the Iranian regime in Teheran.
With this action he gave the final death-blow to all U.S. hopes to win the war in Iraq: with Sunni support lost right from the beginning due to U.S. own conscious plan to wipe the Sunnis off the earth, the Shia loyalty shifting little by little towards Iran, now the Kurds are also lost, thanks to Mr. Talabani. Squarely, this that the U.S. has no local support whatever in Iraq. These are the ‘deadly circumstances’, where the defeat of any occupier is inevitable and inavoidable. If you are unaware of these latest developments, I recommend you the following articles:
a) ‘When U.S. needed victory strategy for Iran, Bush recycled an used one for Iraq’, in The same core facts are now also stated in
b) ‘Baath Party Statement’, and furthermore
c) Iraq: is Iran the real winner?,
The U.S. defeat and Iranian victory are now actually described and claimed in the articles
d) U.S. will suffer bigger defeat in Iraq than in Vietnam: Iran’, and
e) Rafsanjani says Iran won in the U.S.-led war on Iraq,

To put it short, Jalal Talabani, a truly fine personality, has deceived not only the Kurds, the Iranians, the United States, the Iraqi people but in fact, the entire world. As at the same time a wholly innocent man, Saddam Hussein is charged for the crimes of Mr. Talabani. Besides as a recognition of these merits (and several other, not mentioned here due their encyclopedic scope), Mr. Talabani has been appointed as the “president” of Iraq, although the legal president of Iraq is still Saddam Hussein. Viewing all this together, one can well say that Mr. Talabani most likely holds the world record of the successive deceptions ever. If not otherwise, then because he may still have a future in Iraq due to his new alliance with the Iranian regime.

§5. Before going back to the happenings at Halabja, let’s have a general view on the context of the gassing of the Kurds.
In 1986-1988 Iraq was already winning the war between Iraq and Iran. As you quite correctly mention, “the U.S. did not expect Iraq to win, and when it did (rather: was doing so), U.S. leaders were ‘dumbfounded’.” In this final phase of the war the U.S., wanting to prevent Iraqis from winning, started secretly support Iran, delivering her both sophisticated weapons and intelligence to subvert the Iraqis’ defences (IIOS, 195-198, actions which – after their revelation became known as Iran-Contra scandal.

From the involvement of ‘Mr.’ Talabani, a friend – if this word can be used of him at all – of both U.S. and Iran, it looks clear that the U.S. sided with the Iranians with the help of Jalal Talabani at Halabja. This means that the United States and ‘Mr.’ Talabani go much further back than the Iraq war now waging. If you or anybody else doubts this, the proof that ‘Mr.’ Talabani ‘worked’ at Halabja both as an Iranian and U.S. ally are included in your own narrative. In WCAV you write:
“And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report.”
Let’s stop right here: “Immediately?”
This makes me wonder is it not so that the DIA could not have been “immediately” on the spot, had it not been cooperating either with the Iranians or Jalal Talabani – or both. Taken that the U.S. itself did not bombard the Halabja with the Zyklon B, and taken that it was (as the U.S. study claims) the Iranian, not Iraqi gas that killed the Kurds, at least the U.S. military intellligence was well aware of what would happen at Halabja long before it actually happened. Unlike Saddam Hussein. And did nothing to stop this.

§6. I’m contacting now you on this matter, because you tell us being ”privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.”

Wanting to be very straightforward concerning your knowlegde on this issue, I would like now to ask you the following questions:

1) Was it Iran, who used cyanide gas against Iraqi Kurds, and were the Iranians assisted in this by the U.S. either with recommendations, delivering the gas, intelligence or what so ever, connecting the U.S. to the gassing of the Kurds? Or
2) Was it U.S. itself (or some its ally, for example Israel), who used the cyanide gas at Halabja, but pointed the finger on Iran after this? Or
3) Was U.S. using Jalal Talabani, an agent for them and ally of Iran, who – without Iranian knowledge of this – made the Iranians to use its own, home-made cyanide gas against the Kurdish civilians at Halabja? Or
4) Was it so that, the DIA originally planned the operation at Halabja against both Iraq and Iran as follows: in first phase ‘the Halabja genocide’ was intended to be used as a justification for a war against Iraq, as actually happened in 2003?
5) Was it further intended that after the Iraq war was won and Saddam convicted, the DIA investigation, showing that ‘actually’ it was the Iranians, (“Oops, sorry Iraq, we made a little mistake here...”), who used cyanide gas? Which was, according to the plan, to be now used to start an successive war against Iran? (For a sketch for such a “radical right-wing agenda, cf. Iraq: The War To Start All Wars,
6) Was it further so that Jalal Talabani double-crossed the Americans just few weeks ago, because he had by then understood that the second phase of war, the planned attack against Iran was not to happen, as actually the Iranians had already won the Iraq war?
7) Is it so that after Mr. Chalabi turned his coat once again, he arrived to the Iranian camp with the proofs of the U.S. involvement, or possibly with the conclusive proof of U.S. initiative in the use of the cyanide gas at Halabja?
8) Is this one of the reasons for the Iranians claiming now victory over the United States in Iraq, simply because the Iranians know that as they have a solid evidence against U.S., they’ve also gained an absolute immunity against any U.S. forgery aimed at starting a war against Iran, giving them also a guarantee against Israel?
9) Is it so that the U.S. must be very nice to Iran from now on, since it fears that Iran could (and would) leak the U.S. involvement at Halabja?
10) Is it so that the U.S. is now being blackmailed by Tehran? Wouldn’t it be much better to bring all the evidence out before the U.S. is gotten into a very big trouble because of it’s position in this?

If you are not able to answer these questions on your own name, I fully understand you. In that case I would however hope that you choose a nick-name and drop both the answers and the proofs of these question to the internet through channels that can not be tracked back to you.
Not only me, but the entire world will be most thankful to you for doing this favor. My sincerest thanks to you already,

Yours Truely,


1. Did Iraq attack Halabja with chemical weapons in 1988?,
2. A Glimpse of The Past: A War Crime or an Act of War?,
3. Saddam Hussein Did Not Commit Genocide,
4. Saddam never gassed his own people,
5. In Defense of Saddam Hussein,
6. Defending Saddam, Not President Bush,
7. What Happened at Halabja?,
8. What do Fallujah and Halabja have in Common?,
9. Claims of Saddam's Genocide Far from Proven,
10. Report Suppressed: Iran Gassed Kurds, Not Iraq,
11. More on Jeffrey Goldberg,
12. A Fair Trial for Saddam?,

As far as I know, zyklon B is comprised of (a) an absorbant substance, such as plaster-of-paris, and (b) hydrogen cyanide gas adsorbed onto the plaster-of-paris. Thus the zyklon B can be put into airtight cans, making more robust gas cylinders unnecessary.

To regenerate the hydrogen cyanide gas, the pellets were shaken out from the can, and the gas evaporated slowly. To make it evaporate more quickly, the pellets needed to be raised to 27deg Celsius. If a building was to be fumigated, it needed to have windows & doors covered, and allowed to stand for several days.

Needless to say, the horror story of 'nazi gas chambers' using zyklon B to kill people is quite fictitious. Yes, zyklon B was an effective bug-killer in the days before DDT. Yes, there were problems with bugs: louse-borne typhus was a major killer in the concentration camps. Yes, clothes & bedding were fumigated with zyklon B. No, people were not poisoned with zyklon B.

So zyklon B was a (human) life-preserving substance — not a (human) killer.

As for the Halabja tragedy, it appears to have been 'collateral damage' (as the yankees love to say) of the Iran-Iraq War twenty years ago. There are opinions that the death-dealing gas was Iranian, not Iraqi. Something went wrong, and civilians were killed. That's one of the major reasons why gas warfare is so condemned: it is too open to unexpected changes in wind & weather and gets the wrong target.

Needless to say, the show trial (against President Saddam Hussein & his colleagues) is not interested in truth & justice. It's all part of the political parade for the uninformed & misinformed masses of the U.S.A., UK, Australia and other countries complicit in the criminal invasion & destruction of Iraq.

mparent7777: So These are the Democrats?

mparent7777: So These are the Democrats?

The Progressive Daily Beacon: "Shocking: Washington Post shills for Bush and Lieberman...Sadly, Koko the gorilla could have done a better job"

The Progressive Daily Beacon: "Shocking: Washington Post shills for Bush and Lieberman...Sadly, Koko the gorilla could have done a better job" - Class Warfare With Taxes - Class Warfare With Taxes

McCann Erickson wins $1.35bn US Army advertising account - BR Bulletin - Advertising, Marketing, Media and PR news by Email - Brand Republic

McCann Erickson wins $1.35bn US Army advertising account - BR Bulletin - Advertising, Marketing, Media and PR news by Email - Brand Republic

George Washington's Blog: Why was there Molten Metal Under Ground Zero for Months after 9/11?

George Washington's Blog: Why was there Molten Metal Under Ground Zero for Months after 9/11?

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The US has used torture for decades. All that's new is the openness about it

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The US has used torture for decades. All that's new is the openness about it

Does Jonah Goldberg get it? For some strange reason....

Angry Bear

Cunningham Scandal Link with Iran Contra Scandal

Cunningham Scandal Link with Iran Contra Scandal: " Cunningham�s hometown paper, reported that Brent Wilkes has a two decade long history of close links with the CIA. "

Bill Moyers Latest Video of Speech about FOIA, etc. (c-span) Search Results

The Truth Comes Out... | The Huffington Post

The Truth Comes Out... The Huffington Post

Falling sunflowers

Falling sunflowers
Originally uploaded by !.keesssss.!.
Lightning over Evian, France, seen from across Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland.
A leftover from this summer, I had somehow forgotten to post this shot, taken the same night as this one , with a different white balance setting.

giù in città

giù in città
Originally uploaded by mafaldablue.


Originally uploaded by -Ant-.
Lightning over Evian, France, seen from across Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland.
A leftover from this summer, I had somehow forgotten to post this shot, taken the same night as this one , with a different white balance setting.

In a Wonderful Place

In a Wonderful Place
Originally uploaded by artofgold.

Torture Is an American Value: Reality vs. the Rhetoric

Torture Is an American Value: Reality vs. the Rhetoric

Autumnal Leaves

Autumnal Leaves
Originally uploaded by H@Ru.

Scrivener's Error (Torture Debate)

Scrivener's Error

Blogger Thoughts: Hat tip Bainbridge

Yacht Club

Yacht Club
Originally uploaded by wmchu.

winter collection

winter collection
Originally uploaded by Marko_K.

911 - Too Hot To Handle?

911 - Too Hot To Handle?

Exclusive to Rense.comBy Douglas Herman12-8-5

"If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us." -- George HW Bush

A couple weeks ago, just out of curiosity and in the interest of fairness, I decide to email a hundred mainstream media news editors from newspapers large and small. I wanted to get their own remarks to four very innocuous but pertinent questions regarding THE EVENT that spawned two foreign wars based on lies, massive government spending, enormous corruption and cronyism, vote fraud, crimes against the Geneva Convention and destruction of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not to mention the rather minor (by comparison) Valerie Plame affair.

That event, of course, was the 911 attacks that opened the Pandora's box to ALL the felonies that followed.

So I wrote polite emails to nearly one hundred news editors around America. I opened with the query: "Dear Editors, Do Joseph Pulitzer's words still apply today?" Then I added Pulitzer's quote (below), just in case some of the news editors may have forgotten who JP was and what he tried to do.

"Iwill always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty." -- Joseph Pulitzer, April 10, 1907

My fourth question to the editors, particularly, may have struck a raw nerve. "If you personally became suspicious that 911 was possibly an inside job--by a rogue element in the government--would you suppress the story rather than inform, and thus distress, your readers?"

I sent along a few links to well-researched 911 news stories, topics we on the Internet are familiar with and can openly discuss. Nothing too shocking or far-fetched, but simply well researched reports of discrepancies that should awaken the skeptical instincts of any good editor. Two 911 Planes Were Never Deregistered, for example, and BYU Discredits Prof Jones For 911 WTC Paper! Like I said, nothing that we on the Internet can't handle.

I received ONE (1) response.

Is 911 the story that may NEVER be mentioned in the polite mainstream media? Rare indeed to read an article in the local newspaper, airing even one of the many contradictions--and there are hundreds--to the Greatest Unsolved Crime of The New Century.

I wrote to some editors twice, before I concluded, by their stony silence, that 911 was the one topic that may never be questioned---EVER-in the US mainstream media. As noted muckraker and tenacious Internet reporter, Greg Szymanski wrote: "Pulitzer may be turning over in his grave, wanting to pull his name from the prestigious awards given out yearly, considering the media's pathetic coverage of 9/11, the PATRIOT Act and doctoring of WMD intelligence reports to sell the war in Iraq."

For example, New York Times "reporter"-and I use that word loosely--Judith Miller once won a Pulitzer Prize, believe it or not. One can thus conclude that news awards, as presented by the self-congratulatory US press, have become almost a fraud perpetrated by phonies as awards for fakery. Otherwise the US news media would be attacking rather than ignoring the mountain of discrepancies in the 911 event. The US media might even conclude that, yes, 911 was indeed an act of terror. An act of terrorism conceived after weeks of secret planning in some five-sided fortresses, by a cabal of war criminals, double agents and nefarious profiteers.

The response to my brief questionnaire did not surprise me. Rather it appeared to coincide with what I have come to expect from the US media, especially newspapers. That is, little or nothing.

Henry David Thoreau observed: "I never read any memorable news in a newspaper." But I keep reading them hoping to be surprised one day. I suppose I'm a self-appointed inspector of newspapers.

Like a lot of Internet writers, I used to send some of my best columns to my local newspaper. To their credit they published two. They never paid for either but then most newspapers have their own stable of writers and contributors who live thousands of miles away. Local writers, especially the majority of hard-working Americans who "hold these truths to be self-evident," seldom see their opinions in print.

One California citizen, a frustrated letters-to-the-editor writer to his own local newspaper, understood this well. And so he composed his own, widely read, Freewayblogger Manifesto. "Sure anybody can write a book, article, or a letter to the editor," he said. "You might even get it published provided the publisher and/or its parent corporation agrees with what you have to say."

And if they do NOT agree with what you say, you will be effectively ignored or silenced in that community.

I wrote to the news editors and publishers of my local newspaper, the South Florida Sun Sentinel. I wrote to them twice, asking about 911. I wrote to editors Earl Maucker and Kingsley Guy and Chauncey Mabe. I even wrote to the Sun Sentinel publisher, Bob Gremillion. I politely asked them: "Does the US media purposely avoid reporting news stories of 911 contradictions that conflict with the official government version of events?"

No response. Twice.

I wrote to the editor of the Austin American-Statesman. The editor, Rich Oppel, had written a recent column I admired. He concluded, "The business of journalism has changed, not always for the best. Yet the journalism of journalism had not changed. In those still-fierce faces and voices of the aging editors, I saw and heard idealism and ideas at octane levels that made them driven and eternally young."

Sounded fine to me, in theory.

I wrote to editor Oppel twice. Hoping for that "still-fierce" idealism. I thought Rich might live up to his words. At least in print, editor Oppel sounded a lot like that idealistic New York news editor that actor Michael Keaton portrayed in an entertaining movie, The Paper (1994).

No response. Twice.

I wrote to sixty editors from the San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Austin American-Statesman, Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and the recent Pulitzer Prize winning Toledo Blade before I finally gave up.

I even wrote to the trio of Blade reporters who wrote that Pulitzer Prize-winning piece about the war in Vietnam. (How The Toledo Blade came to win a Pulitzer for a Story That Was 37 Years Old).

I had hoped that those three award-winning reporters, Joe Mahr, Mike Sallah and Mitch Weiss might email me back. Maybe write me that 911 was hotter than depleted uranium (another topic off limits to the MSM media) and admit that they couldn't touch it. I mean, it took The Toledo Blade 37 years to focus on atrocities in Vietnam, ignored by the US media. Imagine how many centuries it might take for the MSM to focus on 911?

The one editor gutsy enough to answer my emails? Jim Wilhelm from The Toledo Blade. Here's his reply, in part.

"Without looking at the 'example,' (links) I personally don't believe the U.S. media would purposely avoid reporting such stories. There are lots of reasons information that comes to the attention of a newspaper or other media are not reported, some of them having to do with whether they can be properly substantiated through sources and documents that would stand up in a court of law."

Okay. Reasonable response, right? But not even a smidgen of curiosity to examine the well-researched links I sent? Sadly, Jim Wilhelm, like all the other editors, ignored the information that might not "stand up in a court of law," even the very same mainstream media reports that appeared immediately after the attack but never surfaced again.

Unfortunately, 911 researchers have been clamoring for just such a court of law. Some in the 911 Truth Movement, like Mike Ruppert and Jimmy Walters, have even challenged people to come forth and either sue them or prove their shaky contentions, that 911 happened as the mainstream media reported it. Walters even promised a million dollars to anyone who could bring a little PROOF to the discouse, simply saying, "Reopen 9/11 - Catch the Real Terrorists"

No takers so far.

Wilhelm replied to my fourth question--the one that likely struck a raw nerve with every editor who works in the US media. Recall, I had asked: "If you personally became suspicious that 911 was possibly an inside job--by a rogue element in the government--would you suppress the story rather than inform, and thus distress, your readers?"

"The question--- like most of the others above, is loaded," wrote Wilhelm. "If I had the resources (for example, reporters in Washington) I would pursue such a story. I would not willfully suppress such a story if I had substantiated information."

Curiously, guys like Greg Szymanski, way up in Idaho, without a huge news organization behind them (The Toledo Blade employs 146 newsroom staff), without a newspaper paying a decent weekly salary or even a reporter's phone bills, can manage to uncover more substantial bits and pieces to the puzzle of 911 than ALL the editors I queried.

They may not "willingly suppress such a story" but the truth about 911 may not win any Pulitzer Prizes for, oh, 37 years.

Amateur historian and novelist, Douglas Herman writes regularly for the Worldwide Web, the last bastion of truly Free Speech and of gutsy reporting. He is the author of the controversial thriller,
The Guns of Dallas

Internet Censorship

Internet Censorship

Internet CensorshipBy Wayne Madsen12-9-5

Internet censorship. It did not happen overnight but slowly came to America's shores from testing grounds in China and the Middle East.

Progressive and investigative journalist web site administrators are beginning to talk to each other about it, e-mail users are beginning to understand why their e-mail is being disrupted by it, major search engines appear to be complying with it, and the low to equal signal-to-noise ratio of legitimate e-mail and spam appears to be perpetuated by it.

In this case, "it," is what privacy and computer experts have long warned about: massive censorship of the web on a nationwide and global scale. For many years, the web has been heavily censored in countries around the world. That censorship continues at this very moment. Now it is happening right here in America.

The agreement by the Congress to extend an enhanced Patriot Act for another four years will permit the political enforcers of the Bush administration, who use law enforcement as their proxies, to further clamp censorship controls on the web.

Internet Censorship: The Warning Signs Were Not Hidden

The warning signs for the crackdown on the web have been with us for over a decade. The Clipper chip controversy of the 90s, John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness (TIA) system pushed in the aftermath of 9-11, backroom deals between the Federal government and the Internet service industry, and the Patriot Act have ushered in a new era of Internet censorship, something just half a decade ago computer programmers averred was impossible given the nature of the web. They were wrong, dead wrong.

Take for example of what recently occurred when two journalists were taking on the phone about a story that appeared on Google News. The story was about a Christian fundamentalist move in Congress to use U.S. military force in Sudan to end genocide in Darfur. The story appeared on the English Google News site in Qatar. But the very same Google News site when accessed simultaneously in Washington, DC failed to show the article. This censorship is accomplished by geolocation filtering: the restriction or modifying of web content based on the geographical region of the user. In addition to countries, such filtering can now be implemented for states, cities, and even individual IP addresses.

With reports in the Swedish newspaper Svensa Dagbladet today that the United States has transmitted a Homeland Security Department "no fly" list of 80,000 suspected terrorists to airport authorities around the world, it is not unreasonable that a "no [or restricted] surfing/emailing" list has been transmitted to Internet Service Providers around the world. The systematic disruptions of web sites and email strongly suggests that such a list exists.

News reports on CIA prisoner flights and secret prisons are disappearing from Google and other search engines like Alltheweb as fast as they appear. Here now, gone tomorrow is the name of the game.

Google is systematically failing to list and link to articles that contain explosive information about the Bush administration, the war in Iraq, Al Qaeda, and U.S. political scandals. But Google is not alone in working closely to stifle Internet discourse. America On Line, Microsoft, Yahoo and others are slowly turning the Internet into an information superhighway dominated by barricades, toll booths, off-ramps that lead to dead ends, choke points, and security checks.

America On Line is the most egregious is stifling Internet freedom. A former AOL employee noted how AOL and other Internet Service Providers cooperate with the Bush administration in censoring email. The Patriot Act gave federal agencies the power to review information to the packet level and AOL was directed by agencies like the FBI to do more than sniff the subject line. The AOL term of service (TOS) has gradually been expanded to grant AOL virtually universal power regarding information. Many AOL users are likely unaware of the elastic clause, which says they will be bound by the current TOS and any TOS revisions which AOL may elect at any time in the future. Essentially, AOL users once agreed to allow the censorship and non-delivery of their email.

Microsoft has similar requirements for Hotmail as do Yahoo and Google for their respective e-mail services.

There are also many cases of Google's search engine failing to list and link to certain information. According to a number of web site administrators who carry anti-Bush political content, this situation has become more pronounced in the last month. In addition, many web site administrators are reporting a dramatic drop-off in hits to their sites, according to their web statistic analyzers. Adding to their woes is the frequency at which spam viruses are being spoofed as coming from their web site addresses.

Government disruption of the political side of the web can easily be hidden amid hyped mainstream news media reports of the latest "boutique" viruses and worms, reports that have more to do with the sales of anti-virus software and services than actual long-term disruption of banks, utilities, or airlines.

Internet Censorship in the US: No Longer a Prediction

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Cisco Systems have honed their skills at Internet censorship for years in places like China, Jordan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and other countries. They have learned well. They will be the last to admit they have imported their censorship skills into the United States at the behest of the Bush regime. Last year, the Bush-Cheney campaign blocked international access to its web site -- -- for unspecified "security reasons."

Only those in the Federal bureaucracy and the companies involved are in a position to know what deals have been made and how extensive Internet censorship has become. They owe full disclosure to their customers and their fellow citizens.

Milosevic Trial a Farce

Milosevic Trial a Farce

Media Matters - Wash. Times editorial, Limbaugh repeated Drudge's false claim that IAEA's ElBaradei said Iran only a "few months" from nuclear weapons

Media Matters - Wash. Times editorial, Limbaugh repeated Drudge's false claim that IAEA's ElBaradei said Iran only a "few months" from nuclear weapons

Media Matters - Limbaugh defended his and Mehlman's Kerry distortion with falsehood

Media Matters - Limbaugh defended his and Mehlman's Kerry distortion with falsehood

Sweet Smell Overtakes Manhattan, "Maple Syrup. Same As Last Time." | The Huffington Post

Sweet Smell Overtakes Manhattan, "Maple Syrup. Same As Last Time." | The Huffington Post

mparent7777: We are being lied to

mparent7777: We are being lied to